In a world where people tag each other in memes and make fun of “soluchan” (glue) addicted Kamlesh, Just for Kicks [JFK] aims at changing the life of children from lesser privileged backgrounds through the power of football. And here’s what I learnt from my internship.
Sport is an essential part in a child’s life as a physical activity. However, there’s more to learn from it. Sport shapes the individual and allows them to imbibe values and acquire certain life skills like, say, critical thinking. Defeat is an important aspect of any sport. It teaches one to analyze mistakes and to think of strategies to avoid them the next time. It also allows one to think creatively through the application of new strategies. These are but two of the many life skills that one can learn through sport.
Most of us overlook the life skills aspect of sports. As players and coaches we strive to win and get the best results. But these life skills are inherent in all sports; one just needs to tap these life skills with greater attention and that’s exactly what JFK does!
My Internship Journey
I headed out to a new city – Pune – and interned with JFK for about two and a half months. I was obviously anxious because I had heard that JFK functions differently from a corporate company and I had only interned with corporate prior to this internship. To top it off, I was going to be living by myself for the first time.
However, that being said, my stint has been nothing short of brilliant. The work was dynamic and kept me busy. My colleagues treated me as a friend making communication, easy and team meetings enjoyable. I didn’t feel like an intern and actually felt like a full-time team member.
There was a sense of responsibility because my team members trusted me. I was assigned certain tasks such as using Collect for data, observing sessions and creating a diet plan for the children in the program, among others. Honestly, that’s the first time I’ve had this degree of trust entrusted in me during an internship.
My colleagues were always available to help me out whenever I had any doubts. The work has been organized perfectly between the trio of Ajay, Rishi and Vishal. I loved the way the team worked on Google-drive; it added structure to the whole process of working.
And there’s always been a feel-good quotient to each session. The happiness from watching the children is raw and genuine. Each time they kick the ball or stop one from getting into the goal, one can see the joy on their faces. It’s an even better feeling when you are the reason for their happiness.
How Sport Reinforces Life-Skills
In terms of impact, I feel the impact of life-skills is greater than that of technical skills. Each session I visited, the kids were polite and greeted me. I’ve seen a kid lift up an opponent who had fallen. The technical skills of the children will definitely improve in time. It comes with practice. And training for four months every year would definitely do them good; especially when one receives a pair of boots at the age of six!
It’s also great to see the parents being supportive of their children playing football. What needs to change in our country is our mentality towards sport and having parents who encourage children to play more. This can be seen in the number of children taking part in the program; the numbers show an increase each year.
Starting at a young age is important, it happens in all major football playing nations like Spain, England, Brazil etc., where talent is scouted and worked on at an early age and that’s exactly what JFK is trying to implement.
I’m glad that I interned at JFK as it’s given me an experience in terms of managing certain operations. However, what’s more important to me is the JFK team’s effort to nurture football in India and making more people love the sport. It would be a dream to see these girls and boys represent the country at a World Cup in the near future!